I made a snippy comment on twitter the other week about how Carrington Road was flooded “as usual”. Not sure what angle I was going for – perhaps somewhere between “they don’t know how to build roads”, “they don’t know how to engineer properly” and also “it is interesting that the area’s geology/hydrology always come back despite our best efforts”. But what the snippiness sort of forgot / or did not really quite know that the whole area was once a swamp. I knew about the swampiness of parts of the area between Shea’s Creek (the Alexandra Canal) and the Cooks River, but hadn’t joined the dots to think about the site that I most encounter nuisance flooding – on my own cycle route to work. Gumbramorra Swamp, however, is quite a well documented place. Unlike the Cooks River, where the Aboriginal name has been lost (or seemingly so, though I am not convinced of this fact and hope to have the assumption undone some day), the swamp and the lives of those who lived around it is documented. Below is an imprecise map of the wetland which, as the caption says, ebbed and flowed depending on the weather.
I learned more about how the water from the whole swampy area is managed when planning for my trip to the Sydenham Drainage Pit and Pumping Station last week. But the bend in Carrington Road in Marrickville, with its new water level measurements is very interesting. I’m going to spend more time thinking about it and chatting with Sydney Water as well. I’ve made some new friends there. This ethnographic field work combined with literary analysis and reflections on creative practice merged with considerable dollops of theory is very fun!